On October 3rd, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was removed from his position as the Speaker of the House. This major development has created an opportunity for new leadership, and two prominent House Republicans have already expressed their desire to step in and take up the mantle.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who chairs the influential House Judiciary Committee, and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) are the first to announce their candidacies for the Speaker’s role officially. This decision came after a motion to vacate the chair was passed with a close vote of 216–210. Interestingly, eight Republicans sided with 208 Democrats to support the motion. Following this outcome, McCarthy clarified that he would not run for the Speaker’s position again. His future in Congress, however, remains uncertain. In the interim, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) has been designated as the speaker pro tempore until a permanent Speaker is elected.
Jim Jordan’s decision to run for the Speaker’s role is noteworthy. Before entering politics, he was a wrestling coach, and his fighting spirit remains evident. On October 4th, he confidently told reporters about his intention to vie for the Speaker’s gavel. Jordan has been a member of Congress since 2007. Earlier in January, he had the opportunity to run for the Speaker’s position but chose to support McCarthy’s bid instead. In a heartfelt letter to his colleagues, Jordan emphasized the pivotal moment the nation is currently facing. He wrote, “Now is the time for our Republican conference to come together to keep our promises to Americans.” He further highlighted the challenges ahead but remained optimistic about overcoming them with unity and focus.
On the other hand, Steve Scalise, in his letter to colleagues, underscored the legislative milestones achieved by the House, particularly in areas like border security and energy. He emphasized the importance of not losing momentum, especially with pending appropriations bills. Scalise’s journey adds another layer to his candidacy. He recounted the life-threatening shooting incident he survived in 2017, just a day before the annual bipartisan Congressional Baseball Game for Charity. Drawing from this experience, he wrote, “God already gave me another chance at life. I believe we were all put here for a purpose.” Despite battling blood cancer, Scalise expressed his readiness to face the challenges ahead and sought support for his bid to become the Speaker of the House.
While Jordan and Scalise are the first to announce, they are not the only potential candidates. House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) and House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) are also considered possible successors to McCarthy. Both have previously shown their support for McCarthy. Another potential contender is Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, who hasn’t ruled out the possibility of running for the Speaker’s role.
The House is currently in recess and will reconvene on October 10th. This date is also significant as a candidate forum is scheduled, allowing potential candidates to present their vision and plans. The new Speaker of the House election is set for the following day, October 11th. The outcome of this election will undoubtedly shape the direction of the House and potentially influence the broader political landscape.